Nikon D50 RIP…

So no need to rehash what I’ve already rehashed a million times, but through a series of unfortunate events, I no longer own a Nikon D50 camera or a laptop computer.    This is one of the first pictures ever taken with said camera, and that is a real mushroom Mike and I spotted at Huntsville State park.  I would also like to think that karma is a bitch to whoever broke into my home and tortured my dog to steal the Nikon.   While I have never been a great photographer, owning a nice camera certainly opened up some possibilities, and it was a really terrific investment.  I will be getting another one soon…..Ok, moving on…

Did my last 20 miler in phase one of my training.  Next weekend I am out of town for work, and not sure if I’ll be able to run, and if I can certainly not 20.  I was a little tight at the end, but I had missed yoga this week, so I wasn’t surprised.  But, I did it.  It is nice to have completed the first chunk of training.  
Not much else going on.  It was a slightly crappy week for an assortment of reasons.  It was nice to run this morning.  I would like to thank my friends that, while they never say it, I know adjust their running to join me on what ever I have planned out.  Company is nice.
Hitting the greenbelt early tomorrow and then a busy week before heading out to San Diego for work…where I will really be in a class the whole time and not really exploring.  That is ok though…I am not much for the beach anyways.  Looks like a Bastrop run this month, so good times are on the horizon…


RR100 training week 4…

I can’t believe this is week 4 already. Managed another 20 on Saturday with little drama. A couple lessons were learned: I didn’t eat enough when I finished and later that night took a major nosedive into sleepiness and overall feeling like crap. I need to start getting off the roads some too. My knees are getting a little achy from 4 weekends now of long road runs. Now, I need one more 20 next weekend, then an easy weekend when I am out of town, and then I kick off the next phase of training and up the miles a bit. It is going by fast.

This am, Shan was able to meet me on the greenbelt for 6 miles, and Pancake and I were happy to have company for a change. I got to see her terrific photos of the Wasatch 100, which I will never do. A 36 hour time limit tells me some people will take that long, and I would likely be one of them. Too long for me!

I got home, and Mike and I headed out for Perdernales. I hadn’t been out there in awhile and needed to take some pictures. The water was low, as expected, but still beautiful. It was actually pretty hot out there, and a long hike sounded rather unpleasant. It is completely exposed there. We managed a few good shots and some time climbing rocks. There is a bird watching area that is new since I was last there. It is a little hut with a glassed in front, overlooking a little fenced off area with water and seed for the birds. We saw a lot of birds just sitting there for a few minutes. Then on the way home we stopped at the Nutty Brown Cafe and had homemade fried okra and blackberry pie.

So, overall another good training weekend. I didn’t catch up on a wink of sleep, but what else is new. I am ready to start training week 5!


Modern Jackass…

My favorite radio show in the world, This American Life, had a show introducing a ficticious magazine called Modern Jackass (I initiallly errouneously posted it as “American jackass” , so this is the corrected post),. It is full of material that you know just a little bit about (as in, you saw a Discovery Channel show on something, you read a internet news blurb, etc), but yet you discuss it as if you have some great knowledge of the topic, even throwing in a handful of technical terms, but all the while you really just have this limited experience. (As a side note, I listen to This American Life podcasts as work…some times I find myself laughing out loud, or holding back tears…if you have never heard the show, and have time to listen to a podcast or 2..you should). We’ve all done this. Today I found myself doing it about those plastic bottles that are supposedly bad. I sited a study a heard about on the radio and then realized, “I really know nothing about this! I am NOT a chemist.” There you go, Modern Jackass. Anyhow, where am I going with this? well, Jane, asked for some ultra advice. I’ve never met Jane, but she has a cool blog. Anyhow, for what it is worth, for anyone who gives a crap, here are a few little tidbits I’ve come to live my in my…gulp….20 years of running! Don’t know if I still qualify as an Modern Jackass, but I am pretty sure I do:

The picture is from the Vermont 100, where I didn’t necessiarly follow my own advice the whole time. But, I have learned: you have to believe you can do it, and never underestimate the power of positive thinking. Not that I always do this, but I find if I at all doubt myself, I inevitably struggle. Think your way out of any little thing being an “issue”. If you think it will be a problem, it will become one.
If all else fails, suck it up, you signed on for this, and now you are in if for the long haul. It’s not like someone forced you to do this, so quit being a baby. When I get tired and cranky, this is what I think. I end up getting angry, and once I work through my anger, I can come out on the other side and revert back to positive thinking.
Train just enough to feel confident you’ll finish. Ok, this is one thing I am pretty good at. I just don’t give a crap what other folks are doing to train. I like to hear about it, and take what I want from it, but if someone needs to do a 50 mile training run, and I feel like that will just wear me out, and I am good about sticking to my plan, and not feeling pressured to do more. Same goes the other way. If I committed myself to a long run, I am pretty good about sticking with it (pretty good…not perfect!)
Less is more. More often I am finding that not running tons of miles works better, for me at least. I just wear down when I do a lot. I am sure it works for elite runners who don’t have a lot of other outside responsibilities (like a 50 hour work week). So, I don’t beat myself up over not doing mega long runs. I just try to be consistent, doing them regularly, so they build on each other. I know a lot of folks who have finished 100s on 20-30 mile runs.
I always say over and over “this is supposed to be fun”. Running races is a luxury. It shouldn’t be drudgery. If it feels that way to me, I really need to shift my thinking to get positive again.
I have found that using some of my running strategies has helped me get through doing other things I didn’t really want to. Like periods of frustration at work. Someone once told me she didn’t understand people who don’t want to work. She said “something could happen to you one day where you really can’t work, then all you’ll do is wish you could work. Better enjoy working now while you can.” It was good advice.
Enjoy your running now while you can.


Does anyone have some hot chocolate?

Ok, I really need some new pictures. this is yet another Colorado picture and it is the start of the Colorado river. Kinda cool, huh? It starts as a little creek.

So, I got brave and sent in my RR 100 application. Not like I need to be in a hurry, but once that app is in, it is no longer a maybe but a definite. I find that to be a nice little motivator…to see my name on the website as an entrant. I really was just excited. I find more and more that I just function better with a goal out there.

I am sure most Austinites were as happy I as I was this morning to finally get a break from summer. Despite still being a little under the weather, my run felt effortless. I did my standard Mueller run from my front door, and with no increase in my effort it took 2 minutes less. It felt fantastic. I got to work with cravings for hot chocolate. I hope, hope, hope it stays with us. My AC is off right now, the windows are open, and I not sweating. I think I might have to wear long sleeves on tomorrow’s run…


Can’t win ’em all…

Ugggg, not the best RR training run this weekend. In my defense, there were a few outside factors. Hurricane Ike was supposed to dump tons of rain and 50 mile an hour winds on Austin. Not the best running weather. So, I went into the run wondering if I could finish it before the storm hit. I also got a cold at the beginning of the week, and by Friday I was feeling the full effects. I hadn’t been sick in longer than I could remember, so I couldn’t really complain, but still no one likes to spend their week with a head full of snot.

Well, the weather didn’t really hit Austin. I awoke to no wind, and just some clouds, and figured I still probably wouldn’t feel 100% by Sunday, so I might as well just get the run over with. I had company for the first 6 miles. After I said goodbye to Steve, I decided to run the 10 mile town lake loop. Once I hit the eastside I didn’t see a soul. I had a run in with a flock of Austin’s wild parrots which was kinda cool. I started feeling pretty cruddy about this point. I was slow, downing a whole bottle of water every 2 miles, and knew that 20 might just not be a good idea today. I managed 16.5, and then another 2 once I got home walking the hike and bike at Mueller. Uggg, sometimes you just have those days where it isn’t fun. I figure I am a long way off from my event, so no harm done today, but finishing those hard runs really helps with confidence. BUT, I am so early into my training, and if you’re sick, you’re sick. So, I am just not going to beat myself up over this one. I had 2 great weekends, and not every run will be your best.

I woke up today to find my chest now full of snot. The greenbelt didn’t sound fun, so I hit Mueller again. Came home, did a yoga DVD and then later hit town lake with Mike to work on my power walking. All in all, the best weekend I could pull off.

I am super excited that summer is ending. I am definitely ready for some fall racing, and fall weather. I put up Halloween lights today, I just took an apple cake out of the oven (that I will later make a caramel icing for, yum), and there are rumors of morning temps in the 60s this week. Whoo-hoo!

Another aside, for beer drinkers, there is a super yummy new beer. Pinebelt Pale Ale out of Conroe. You can get it at Specs. www.southernstarbrewing.com Always a good thing to support a local brewer. I am not normally a Pale Ale fan, but this one is soooo good. Hopefully someone here will start carrying it on draft.


More training…

I am coming to the end of my second week of RR training. Managed another 20 miler Saturday with little drama. Another town lake run to take advantage of the company of running partners, and feeding off the energy off all the folks out there training.

Part of training is identifying problems and fixing them. Last week’s problem was chafing. This week, I wore my Nike running skirt with hot pants (they are really short, shorts, but I prefer to think of them as hot pants) underneath, and slathered Aquaphor everywhere. It seemed to work! My new problem, or not so new, as I knew I tend to do this, is I don’t eat enough on the run. I eat enough to get through the run, and not enough to keep me going afterwards. I went home, did a few chores, and then started feeling a little fuzzy….that real tired, dehydrated feeling. We tried this little Russian deli’s perogis, which were quite different from the cheese filled polish perogis I make, but the salty meat and dough seemed to revive me. all in all, I was still happy with the results. 2 weeks of good 20 milers in what still is quite warm weather. The mornings are getting a little better and are more comfortable, but we are still a long way off from a crisp, cool morning. I followed things again with another greenbelt run this am, and then later did a short little hike at bull creek. it is not really afternoon hiking weather yet either, but I couldn’t resist testing the waters, now that the 100 degree days seem over.

Finally, congrats to my friend Shan who finished the Wasatch 100 this weekend. I followed the results online, and it is such an inspiration to watch my friends finish these seemingly impossible runs. Amazing!


Being present…

Two seemingly different things: yoga and dogs. Today’s yoga class was all about being present in the moment, and not letting the ego (aka wandering thoughts) take over. I am very bad at this. I always am thinking “what do I have to do at work tomorrow? I’ve got to do laundry when I get home. What am I running this weekend? I need to read my book more. I want to watch a movie tonight. What epic run can I do months from now?”…and on and on…you get the picture, I like to think ahead a lot (as we all do). Being present just means thinking of what you are doing right now, at this moment, and forget that other stuff…and also forget the past. It is really hard to just focus on the right now. Most of us live a perpetual rat race. It’s just the way out culture is set up I think (the 32 hour work week is such a good idea!). Also, avoiding the ego is about letting go of what you cannot do, and not gritting your teeth and forcing things. Hmmmm, can this apply to ultra running? I think so !

Running with a dog is the best way to focus on the present. When I do my Pancake runs, it is easy to function like a dog: just be. Just run for the sake of being outside and don’t worry about the 50 errands you need to run later, your deadline at work, or the fact you are not feeling 100%. When I run with Pancake, she is in front of me, and her little tail is like a metronome, swishing back and forth. I zone out much easier.

If you have ever had a moment on a run where you just focus on that moment you know what I mean. I specifically remember one last year in Bandera. On the LOOOOOONG section of flats in all those fields, I was listening to Fiest, and I 100% focused on the music, and the sun was setting and the sky was super pink, and the headache I had all day was going away, and the only place I was, was right there. I know, kinda cheesy, and sappy, but when it happens, it is a great feeling. Now, whenever I hear “The Water”, I am transported back to that moment.

Anyhow, dogs and yoga seemed to just go together today.


I am so lame…

Look, it is cold! Just kidding…

So I managed to miss out on free yoga day out of my own laziness. I had a packed weekend with my long run Saturday, trail run Sunday, saw a movie, went to the Zilker Park Cactus show, got up at 4-freakin‘-30 this am to run then go watch the Jack and Adams triathlon. It was fun, and still left me with no desire to do one. I had a big fit that I just couldn’t take another super hot day, since I spent a huge chunk of the weekend over the stove too.

Yes, there was some good eating this weekend. It is Hatch green chile days, and Mike and I always go somewhere for green chile yumminess. Normally I am not the hugest Chuy’s fan, but they totally make kick ass food with the Hatch chiles. We had the best burrito I have ever had, with awesome shredded pot roast meat, chicken enchiladas and queso, all smothered with Hatch green chile sauce. the day before, we went to Mighty Fine burgers spur of the moment. A PERFECT post long run indulgence.

I had already planned on making Deena Kastor’s avocado enchiladas. If you don’t know, Deena Kastor is America’s best women’s marathon runner. Besides the fact that her athletic accomplishments are very impressive, she just seems like she would be a cool person to hang out with. She trains in the mountains, trains with her dog, loves good food and wine, and has excellent recipes on her blog. Well, the avocado enchiladas turned out great. they were a ton of work , and I recommend making them over 2 days. Make the sauce and then fry the tortillas, make the filling and assemble on day 2. They are super yummy. The filling was delicious on it’s own! But, when you live in a little house, deep frying tortillas and having the oven on quickly turns it into a sauna.

After making these, going to Book People for a new book (ended up getting Running with Scissors), I just wanted to chill at home despite the fact there were something like 200 free yoga classes all over town. Well, the nice thing about a 3 day weekend is feeling like you had a chunk of time to do nothing, and nothing is what I did this afternoon and evening (which is why I am on the computer right now). Got a full week planned with volunteer work, a real yoga class, and a 4am wake up call for a pre work trail run (thank you, Mark!) Whew!